Heavy Lifter (Double Double Whammy)
Reviewed by Rachel Rascoe, Fri., Nov. 29, 2019
Tugged by a through line of reliable, nod-along melodies, Austin tag team Charlie Martin and Will Taylor open windows on their third LP. Where past works enshroud in a bedroom hum, indie-pop clarity clears the hazy Hovvdy headspace on Heavy Lifter. Brighter compositions match the lyrical demands of more specified storytelling, most vividly on piano-led "Mr. Lee." In a simple scene underpinned with so much longing, the protagonist enjoys a "purple-pink sunset/ colors are his favorite." That dazzling nostalgia, a consistent element across the locals' catalog, unfolds in childhood vignettes over 13 songs. Spacious "Pixie" tracks back to a road with a magnolia tree, whereas "Sudbury" reads off a street address between heavy-handed strums. Drum machines and Auto-Tuned oddities add color, like a hip-hop-influenced beat for "Ruin (my ride)." Said expanded toolbox blends into the cozy sonic universe that makes Hovvdy one of the homegrown scene's most nationally relevant acts. Earnest and immediate, "Cathedral" is quintessential to the group, cresting to a sweet ache with, "You are broken perfect, and I realize I try my hardest when you don't expect it." Consider it the tagline for a collection of repeated promises and golden memories, a quietly valiant effort to be better.